Art Book Review: Wreck-it Ralph


The Art of Wreck-it Ralph

By: Jennifer Lee and Maggie Malone

Chronicle Books Hardcover

November 2012

160 pages


Hello and Welcome to the first Art Book Review here at Concept Cookie with the review of “The Art of Wreck-It Ralph

All images are from The Art of Wreck-It Ralph by Jennifer Lee and Maggie Malone, published by Chronicle Books.

Starting off, Wreck-it Ralph is an animated featured film from Disney and this is another art book in the line of recent films they have produced. Although this is a children’s animated movie, the concept work, setting illustrations, layouts and overall art is well thought out and executed in a professional and truly inspiring manner. From studying how light is diffused through a gummy bear and projected on to the surface it’s sitting on to the massive jagged edged sci-fi tower designs, this is truly a concept art book that takes itself very seriously, and so should you.

The book has a great design to it in separating the different sections of art throughout the book. It is separated into the characters and how they came to be, the different environments throughout the movie, and different sections on study and research as well as the extras that didn’t make it. A pretty standard format that is done so well from creating different background art pages to fit each of the content that is is showcasing.


If your an 8-bit artist fan, there are some great pixel art explored in the opening of the book alongside some storyboards and intial concepts of each of the characters.

The transition from taking a pixel art character into 3d was an interesting task and if you have seen the movie, they executed it really well and I especially enjoy the movements of the townspeople (Nicelanders)

The first environment was the Game Central and it was interesting to see their influences from the New York Grand Central Terminal from the 1930s. The heaven sent lighting was a prime focus for the team.


Hero’s Duty (The dark futuristic, sci-fi landscape) explored sharp angles with it best explained by Rich Moore, “fit the idea of chaos, broken edges, violence, and wind. If you are a fan of games along similar lines like Mass Effect and Halo, you will love this section. Although this is a Disney movie, they really created some great sci-fi artwork that stands strong amongst the hyper-realistic shooters we see today.



The next setting was a much sweeter one in the lands of the Candy Kingdom. Sugar Rush was my favorite subject matter that they explored, even taking photos of real life confectionary treats for reference by Brittney Lee. Every texture and color were referencing food elements in some way or another. Everything had to look good enough to eat and in contrast to the Hero’s Duty shapes, everything had more curvatures and a softness to it.


The colors were very bright, lush, warm, rich, and had a certain lighting appeal to them as well.

There was a great study for painting materials with a direct comparison between the candy and skin texture. Notice the difference of highlights and how lighting affects the colors in the materials. They took a lot of real life candy photos for reference and especially when you can see how lighting affects objects like gummy bears, hard candy, sugar cubes, and candy canes.


The standout concept artists:

When I look through an art book, there are artists that I end up researching and looking and what else they have done. This could be from their technique, color usage or overall quality to their pieces. Here are the following concept artists that stood out that I believe you should take a look at as well!

Ryan Lang – Ryan Lang Portfolio

Ryan’s work captivated me. It is gorgeous in color and his creativity speaks volumes to me as an artist and what I prefer in my own art. After reading through the book he has become one of my top favorite artists. The most impressive quality to his work is his lighting. He treats his lighting with color and a lot of ambient warm lighting. The bounce lighting is so well done that you would think it’s a 3d render.


For the candy cane forest, Ryan created some brilliant interpretations that I was inspired to create one of my own here on the right. For practice I would take a piece from an artist you admire and try to re-create what they have done. You will learn in the process some invaluable techniques. For example, this one I learned how to create a hard candy cane surface.


Helen Chen – Helen Chen Blogspot

Working alongside so many great artists, Helen Chen was another one of my favorites that stood out. She worked with strong colors to create a mood in each of her pieces. Along with Ryan, I would recommend color picking from their pieces to save them in your color palettes.

helen chen

These two artists stand out for me in what I look for in concept art with the combination of color and lighting but there are so many other art pieces and artists that can inspire and connect with the viewer for different reasons.

A lot of other great concept artists also contributed works to the book from sketches to fully rendered pieces and they deserve recognition as well:

To check out all of the other artists that worked on this project, check out the book and see them for yourselves =]


Overall Review – ★★★★☆

The art book for Wreck-it Ralph is a surprisingly great concept art book for not only character and environment designs but for it’s beautiful pieces showcasing lighting and color . Ryan Lang has become a great influence for concept art to me and I appreciate this book introducing such great talents in the industry. The studies with candy and confectionary treats really drew my attention and how it works with lighting and color. This is a great book that covers a mix of different atmospheres and settings from the harsh land of Hero’s Duty to the curvy and luscious Sugar Rush. I recommend this to every concept artist because of how wide of subject matters it explores as well as how well polished and cleanly drawn it is.

Thanks for checking out the first art book review here with “The Art of Wreck-it Ralph“. Any comments or questions, leave them in the section below!

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3 Responses to “Art Book Review: Wreck-it Ralph”
  1. Posts: 1

    Great review, but I wanted to point out the main menu link goes straight to this review, rather than a list of all art book reviews.

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